It’s Not the Force Plate, it’s the Data

By Sparta Science

October 15, 2019

At Sparta Science, it is not uncommon to hear us referred to as a force plate company. In fact, more times than not, we are tied to the device that we have used to collect more than one million scans across the globe - and what has also been considered the “gold standard” of assessing human movement - the force plate. It is easy to see how someone could mistake us for a hardware company, but in reality that could not be further than the truth.

The force plate is simply the “needle to draw the blood” and to be honest, we wish we didn’t have to use the plate at all. However, in order to collect a thousand data points per second and measure movement in it’s finest form the plate is necessary (for now), but it’s the data and interpretation (the software) that allows our partners to make quick and impactful decisions to positively influence the health and performance of their team or organization.


Health is not a game

Most hardware simply provides hundreds of variables to be “interpreted” by the end-user. While raw data is certainly interesting to gander at, it barely scratches the validity surface in helping the practitioner decide what to do next. When comparing a concentric vertical impulse of 5.2 to 6.8 how do we know what threshold is significant? It really just becomes a hobby for the “sports scientist” to collect data. Sports executives and practitioners that say they want to “play around” with data have become a huge problem in sports and military. If you want to play around with data and fancy graphs using hardware you are not a sports scientist, but rather a “sports hobbyist.” 


It’s the standardized data and insights that matter

By standardizing protocols and normalizing the data we can effectively compare organizations and individuals from all over the globe utilizing an aggregate database (just like medicine). In doing so, we can gain insights unseen and unfathomed by basic hardware companies. The powerful aggregate database can give the practitioner meaningful information, while the raw data collected sits there in a spreadsheet to be seen by one “scientist” waiting to spin that information in whatever way best fits his or her narrative.


Data is as valuable as our ability to interpret and change it. 

Without insight derived from a large and diverse database, the only way to evaluate data would be within-individual percent change, which requires time and some guesswork. Furthermore, while you could compare or rank individuals within a population there would be no way to know the potential biases of that specific population. By incorporating a much larger and broader population, it is possible to better recognize strengths and weaknesses within a global movement assessment. The real power of Sparta Science lies in the database full of standardized data and interpretation to help practitioners now - NOT the force plate.

If you liked this blog be sure to check these out:

Data Normalization: If you’re still looking at raw values you’re falling behind

Does Your Data Make Sense? Why Norms Matter

Why Peak Force will Always Fall Short for Athletes

Wake Forest Men’s Basketball Extends Contract with Sparta

Partnership Puts Rockies at Forefront of Training Science

How the Seattle Mariners Involve their Players in the Ongoing Development of their High Performance Model